Life is too short to play it safe

Just over a year ago, I made the most reckless and outlandish decision that I have made in my 49 years. It was the scariest thing that I have ever done, and it had the potential to end in total disaster.

It was also one of the best decisions that I have ever made. 

When I accepted the role as Salesforce implementor for a finserv business, having absolutely no CRM or Salesforce experience or training, it was a wonderfully crazy thing to do – right? It seemed that both our CEO, Neil Moodley, and myself had taken leave of our senses.

It turned out quite well, though. I now have a great job, Digital Business Analyst, in an incredible industry, cloud computing, with an amazing team, InFusion360.

Life is too short to play it safe!

safe

1. No risk – no reward

In 1899 the young mechanic and engineer, Henry Ford, started the Detroit Automobile Company with the backing of three prominent politicians. Ford hadn’t quite mastered the innovation and production techniques that would eventually make him rich, though. Over the next two years, Ford proved to be too much of a perfectionist, and his plant only produced 20 cars as he painstakingly tinkered with designs.

The enterprise went bankrupt in 1901 and reorganized into the Henry Ford Company later that year. Ford eventually left that group and finally got things right in 1903, when he founded the Ford Motor Company. Things didn’t go so badly for the Henry Ford Company after he left, either; it changed its name into one you might find a bit more recognizable: the Cadillac Automobile Company.

Milton Hershey always knew he could make candy, but running a successful business seemed just out of his reach. Although he never had a formal education, Hershey spent four years apprenticing in a candy shop before striking out on his own in Philadelphia in 1876.

Six years later, his shop went under, as did a subsequent attempt to peddle sweets in New York City. Hershey then returned home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he pioneered the use of fresh milk in caramel productions and founded the successful Lancaster Caramel Company.

In 1900 he sold the caramel company for $1 million so he could focus on perfecting a milk chocolate formula. Once he finally nailed the recipe down, he was too rich (and too flush with delicious chocolate) for anyone to remember the flops of his early candy ventures.

When H. J. Heinz was just 25 years old, he and two partners began a company that made horseradish. As the legend goes, the spicy root was the first of Heinz’s famed 57 varieties, but it wasn’t as lucrative as he’d hoped. A business panic in 1875 bankrupted his enterprise, but Heinz’s passion for condiments remained strong.

The very next year, Heinz got together with his brother and a cousin to start a new company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The reorganized group started making ketchup, and the business took off. Last year the H.J. Heinz Company had over $10 billion in revenue.

[Source: Seven famous people who survived bankruptcy]

No risk – no reward. You cannot expect to sit safely in your status quo and reap a great harvest of success. No, fortune does indeed favour the brave, friend! A calculated risk might be just what you need to change the winds of fortune and set your sails for a new horizon of happiness. Take a chance!

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

Check this out: 30 Entrepreneurs Who Went Bankrupt

2. No one ever grew in their comfort zone

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

We all want to grow, don’t we? Yet no one ever grew in their comfort zone. As someone once said,

Your comfort zone is a beautiful thing but you will never grow there. – Unknown

I like comfort. So do you. Comfort, is well, comfortable.

Two years ago, my friend and I (both middle-aged) had the idea to ride our bicycles from my house to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. That is a 200 km (125 mile) ride, round trip, including a 40 km (25 mile) climb up the mountain. I had never ridden more than 160 km in one day, nor had I ever ridden up a mountain.

map

Google Map

So, off we set one morning, before sun-up. A few hours later, the sun was scorching hot, and we found ourselves climbing a mountain in 35C (95F) heat. About 80% of the way to Katoomba, we wanted desperately give up. We were hot, exhausted, and very, very sore. But, we persisted and persevered. We made it to Katoomba, rewarded our tired selves with a massive brunch, and rode home down the mountain – at speeds of up to 80 kmh (50 mph)!

The reward was great – never have i felt so utterly exhilarated. To this day, I think of that ride as one of my most treasured accomplishments. Yet, we definitely had to leave our comfort zone to achieve this feat. I am so glad that we did!

“It’s good to feel stupid sometimes and do things that are out of your comfort zone.” –  Mary-Louise Parker

3. Refuse to die wondering

Life is short! The older that I get, the more I realise this to be true. No one ought to die wondering what might have been. Far better to try and fail than sit still and wonder. After all, failure is never final. So, give it a go!

You might recognise this man and his creation:

disney

Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was born on December 5, 1901, in Hermosa, Illinois. Disney attended McKinley High School in Chicago, where he took drawing and photography classes and was a contributing cartoonist for the school paper. At night, he took courses at the Chicago Art Institute. When Disney was 16, he dropped out of school to join the Army but was rejected for being underage. Instead, he joined the Red Cross and was sent to France for a year to drive an ambulance. He moved back to the U.S. in 1919.

In 1919, Disney moved to Kansas City to pursue a career as a newspaper artist. His brother Roy got him a job at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio, where he met cartoonist, Ub Iwerks. From there, Disney worked at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, where he made commercials based on cutout animation. Around this time, Disney began experimenting with a camera, doing hand-drawn cel animation, and decided to open his own animation business. From the ad company, he recruited Fred Harman as his first employee.

Walt and Harman made a deal with a local Kansas City theater to screen their cartoons, which they called Laugh-O-Grams. The cartoons were hugely popular, and Disney was able to acquire his own studio, upon which he bestowed the same name. They did a series of seven-minute fairy tales that combined both live action and animation, which they called Alice in Cartoonland. By 1923, however, the studio had become burdened with debt, and Disney was forced to declare bankruptcy.

Disney and his brother Roy soon pooled their money and moved to Hollywood. Iwerks also relocated to California, and there the three began the Disney Brothers’ Studio. Their first deal was with New York distributor Margaret Winkler, to distribute their Alice cartoons. They also invented a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and contracted the shorts at $1,500 each.

A few years later, Disney discovered that Winkler and her husband, Charles Mintz, had stolen the rights to Oswald, along with all of Disney’s animators, except for Iwerks. Right away the Disney brothers, their wives and Iwerks produced three cartoons featuring a new character Walt had been developing called Mickey Mouse. The first animated shorts featuring Mickey were Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho, both silent films for which they failed to find distribution. When sound made its way into film, Disney created a third, sound-and-music-equipped short called Steamboat Willie. With Walt as the voice of Mickey, the cartoon was an instant sensation.

Walt and his brother Roy later co-founded Walt Disney Productions, which became one of the best-known motion-picture production companies in the world. He won 22 Academy Awards during his lifetime, and was the founder of theme parks Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

The Walt Disney Company is now worth approximately 90 billion dollars.

[Source: Walt Disney]

In conclusion:

risk

3 Comments

  1. Hey, thank you for this post, my life is kind of a mess, I’m happy to see other sharing their failures and problems we learn so much from it. I’m going to read your e-book .
    It’s so much difficult to get such opportunities , for a guy who has no experience for the job , how did you did that?

    Ps:If you ever visited Mumbai, India , drop a mail let’s have a chat,coffee’s on me.

    Thank you again!.

    Liked by 1 person

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